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Shinnyo-en Foundation Supported Buddhist Studies Visting Scholar, Griffith Foulk


“Nirvana” is to the teachings of Buddhism what “freedom” and “democracy” are to the political rhetoric of the USA: an ideal that is universally embraced as an ultimate good, but one that has been interpreted in very different ways by competing parties over the course of history. This lecture traces developments in the concept of nirvana from its multiple roots in ancient India to its various meanings in the Mahayana Buddhism of China and Japan.


 T. Griffith Foulk is professor of Asian religions at Sarah Lawrence College and co-editor-in-chief of the Soto Zen
Text Project based in Tokyo. He received a Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies from the University of Michigan in 1987, and has taught
at the University of Michigan, the University of Toronto, and UC Berkeley. His publications include Standard Observances of the Soto Zen School (Vol. 1: Translation, and Vol. 2: Introduction, Glossaries, and Index), and numerous monographs on the intellectual and institutional history of Zen Buddhism in China and Japan.